Tuesday 26 December 2023

Christmas Social

The day before Christmas Eve we went to an Ipswich pub to see three local bands playing rowdy punk rock. All old blokes who would have been young teenagers when it all kicked off in late 70s and still loving it now.

Brilliant evening topped by a raucous rendition of the Clash's "What's My Name ?". Music, like fishing, has been a constant in my life since I was a kid and I still get the same pleasure from them as I did in the early days.

The following day I met Waaaak Baines for a fish and catch up on the Stour after he'd visited family. 

Although the river looked pretty much spot on, we struggled a bit. I put Wak in one of the banker swims and he managed to get a proper wrap round bite but missed it. The day before I somehow missed five "proper" chub bites on the trot, its a funny old game sometimes.

As the light faded I wangled out a couple of nice roach, so not a total blank.

We packed up on dark and swopped wine and floats before heading home.

I was back the next day and had a bit more success with two decent chub, three roach and a dace.

I've found a reliable roach swim but am finding hitting bites on the tip difficult, especially when using a little cage feeder. I'd rather use a swan shot but the cage feeder filled with bread definitely gets you more bites.

Lots to think about.

Wednesday 20 December 2023

Almost Done

Well, time for The Loafer's end of year sermon. Pull up a chair, pour yourself a drink and listen to my self indulgent drivel.

Lots of local Stour trips, a couple to the Waveney and GUC at the beginning of the year to get the ball rolling.

Plenty of sessions on TBS, a three hundred and fifty acre venue very close to home. My tench campaign was a flop, unlike the bream trips which were very successful. A lovely place to fish.

Finally got stuck in to the Fens properly with several camper trips, the quality of the rudd fishing is incredible. Loads of fish to over 2lb, such a great way to start the season.

Mid summer through to autumn and I managed to find a nice quiet part of the Tidal Trent. What can you say, superb fishing not only for barbel but hybrids, silver bream, roach and bream. We had four or five three to five day trips through the summer and autumn and were never disappointed. Great social trips, lots of laughs and tremendous fishing.

Me and S had a great trip to Holland on August. I fished every morning at dawn, back to the van for breakfast, then a bike ride for provisions and a visit to a cafe and back for the evening session. Perfect.

Asp, more barbel, ide, massive silver bream, roach, the Ijssel has it all.

It's all about the places that fishing takes you to, the mates you fish with and the fire in your belly that gets the van loaded and headed for another adventure.

In a few weeks plans and dreams for 2024 will start emerging.

A big Stour chub before the end of the season , some good tench fishing somewhere, definitely asp  fishing in Holland and maybe another big tour of Europe. Oh and a really big roach. From a river ideally. 

We'll see.

Sunday 17 December 2023

Game of Two Halves

Well,  not a game, more accurately a weekend.

Saturday afternoon the river was a bit fast but a decent colour. I set up for "whatever comes along" with a size 10 and small bit of flake, feeding with a bit of mashed bread.

The result was missed roach bites and a solitary chub. Sometimes the method works well but today it was too heavy for roach/bream and not what the chub wanted. Thats how it felt anyway. 

Sunday, with the river in similar, perhaps even better nick, I decided to fish cheese for chub and bait the swims with half dozen bits of paste.

I also baited a roach/bream swim with several droppers of hemp and maggots.

Before I'd cast out I'd walked and baited the stretch. Accurately today.

It looked lovely, the water having been held back by the sluice, the flow slow, smooth with an almost oily look to it. Of course, that afternoon the sluice was opened and the flow increased. Not to the degree it does sometimes and I was confident of a few fish.

First cast the tip went round and a nice chub ended up in the net. Next cast the same. Great start.

I'd baited a couple of new swims further downstream. It was a reed lined, and had a smooth, steady run along the inside, with a sunken tree upstream. I started with a cast upstream and immediately had a bite. Missed of course. Next chuck a nice drop back and another chub in the bag.

Next cast I flicked the bait downstream and within seconds the tip pulled over. Another one. Then another.

By this time I'd had seven chub and with dusk approaching it was time to change tactics and try for roach and bream in the pre baited swim.

I sat there for an hour and a half, listening to the Liverpool  v Utd game. I don't know what was duller, the football or the breaming. No bites but a cracking afternoon in the sunny, mild weather nonetheless. 

When I started fishing "The Forbidden Stretch" I had a feeling it might be the place for a very big chub. Snaggy, deep,  tonnes of cover, unfished.

I'm doubtful now. There are more chub than I thought, in great condition but no sign of anything big. Who knows ? 

One last thing. My mate told me about this handy, simple gadget he keeps in his van. A hand propelled food processor, you can do liquidised bread literally "on the bank". It really does work and it costs a fiver !

Thursday 14 December 2023


Yes, FFS. Poxy rain, it hasn't stopped for two months now and it's doing my head in.

Work has dropped off a bit, but thats fine, more time for fishing. If I could get to the river.

Of course, I've tried a few times in the last week, with pretty poor results. Wangling a few out but you know when conditions aren't right.

On the bright side, forecast is dry for next few days so fingers crossed. 

After finishing the balsa floats and christening one of them with some roach I've started on the Avons.

I walked the two and a half miles to the nearest section of river this morning and was greeted with a very high, very coloured Suffolk Stour. Walking back I changed plans, couldn't be arsed to fish in those conditions so make a big batch of cheese paste.

I'm having to re consider my view that you can rarely beat flake and mash for chub. I'm using cheese more at the moment and with pretty good results. A mate says he gets a better stamp of chub with cheese, compared to bread. Hmm.

I'm going to compare results this season. I've always felt that bait is not massively important on lightly fished rivers, but we'll see. 

Obviously they both work well, just be interesting to see if cheese sorts out the better ones. I'm sceptical but hopeful.

After trashing the kitchen making the cheese paste I decided to make a big pheasant stew. It's cooking right now as I tuck in to a nice pale ale whilst grooving to the Sleaford Mods at extreme volume. 

Saturday 16 December is the big day. Ipswich vs Norwich and Liverpool v Man Utd. Up the mighty Town and let's hope Emporer Ming AKA Derek Ten Haag's rabble get a proper pasting at Anfield. 

And with that pretty non fishy report I bid you farewell until next time, when I'll have fantastic tales of chub and roach.

Tuesday 5 December 2023

Farting About

I like drawing and painting. It takes you out of yourself, or as they say nowadays, you're "in the moment ".

I also like making fishing related stuff. When I say stuff, I mean anything that requires a tiny amount of skill and know how, as if its the least bit complicated, I'll mess it up, as I'm total cretin when it comes to DIY or mechanical things.

Apart from "The Day I Put The Shelves Up" in 2012, but I shall not mention that great event.

With the dark nights encroaching I've been making some floats.

It taxes my concentration enough to be interesting but even I can use a piddly paintbrush for paint and varnish. You do what the hell you want too, silly colours, inscriptions, all the things that make you feel like a kid again.

The first lot are done and are about to be sent out to a few mates then I'm going to have a go at some old fashioned Topper Haskins Avon floats.

It's just a bit of fun and whether they're good or crap doesn't matter, I enjoyed doing them. And I'm going to catch some fish on them too.

I'm in the groove on the river at moment, fishing for an hour or so around dusk as often as possible. 

Last night I had a short session late in the afternoon. It was grey and absolutely calm, with the geese and wildfowl's calls echoing along along the river valley. The dank weather put off the dog walkers and I fished alone and content and to top it off the chub fed well and I had four to exactly 4lb.

I'm back fishing tomorrow with Bully on the old man's 70 th birthday.  Can't wait.

Thursday 30 November 2023

On The Cheese

The other day I received a package in the post from Mick at Piscatorial Quagswagging.

Mick calls them Depth Charges, they are what I'd describe as paste grips and looked spot on, so I whipped a few hooks and grabbed the rod for yet another smash and grab session at dusk.

Ninety per cent of the time I use flake and mash for the chub, but I always have a lump of stinking cheese in the bag, "just in case".

Technically it may be a hair rig, but not the way I use it. It's almost like side hooking with the hook point nicely exposed.

First cast and within thirty seconds the tip sprang back and a nice chub was on.

I was somewhat surprised that the paste was still on the hook after landing the fish, it shows how "grippy" the DCs are. 

Despite the absolutely freezing temperatures the fish fed well and I had bites in four swims and ended up with three fish in about an hour and a half.

As I've been suitably gushing about the DCs, I now expect to be made a " Brand Ambassador " and enjoy all the perks and benefits that come with this role. 

I suppose therefore I should end with....

 #mick'sdepthcharge #itwasthedepthchargewotdunit 

Is that how you do it ?

Seriously, for paste fishing these things are brilliant. 

Wednesday 29 November 2023


Very short session yesterday. After a couple of frosts and the colour dropping out the river I thought it might be tough.

It was, but I wangled out a nice roach in a normally "chubby" swim

What was very interesting, was that there were loads of roach rolling ( if I was an expert I'd say "priming" ) as the light dimmed, despite (?) the plummeting temperatures. Lots more activity that I've seen in better catching conditions.

And on that grammatically mangled note I'll sign off.

Thursday 23 November 2023

Tale of Two Rivers

Now where have I seen that blog title before?

The other week a very nice chap invited me to fish his local river.

He's fished it all his life and has caught mind boggling numbers of huge chub, plus monstrous bream and perch. Fish of a size my river rarely, if ever produces.

I knew what to expect and as we walked the semi urban, canalised, pretty uniform section I can't say I was excited.

It looked in good nick though and we fished all afternoon and well into the evening. Neither of us had a bite. That's big fish angling for you.

During the fifty minute drive back along the busiest, most unpleasant road in East Anglia I reflected, yet again, that it ain't all about the fish.

The following day I was back on the beautiful Suffolk Stour and fished "The Forbidden" stretch all afternoon, seeing only a single dog walker.

I tried a swim I've not fished for years and was rewarded with a bite a chuck, mint conditioned roach that will not have seen a hook before.

I'll go back and have another go soon and see if I can find some bigger ones. On the float of course.

Further downstream I managed to nab a couple of nice chub before embalking on the ten minute drive home on traffic free country lanes. Smug git 😄

Some cold weather on the way so it might makes thing a bit tougher in the short term.  We'll see.

Saturday 18 November 2023

Quick Trips

I managed to find a shoal of roach on the river the other day. Lovely swim, with a variety of water ranging from very fast to practically slack. 

Not huge fish but very good size for this stretch.

I was well chuffed with those two, it was in flood and extremely coloured and I do like those conditions for roach. Light quiver rod, micro cage feeder and bread flake this time.

I'm hoping that one day I'll get a monster from this river, I've no idea if they exist but you never know.

Yesterday I was up early, had a six mile walk-run along the water meadows in glorious sunshine before rewarding myself with a corking breakfast.

Then it was off for a bit of trotting in what looked like absolutely perfect conditions.

It was a bit of a struggle and although I managed three chub, two of those were at dusk on the last few casts. 

I was back using the 12' 9", Drennan IM8 Specimen Float rod, twenty five years old and still the best float rod Ive ever used. I'm not as yet convinced about the fifteen foot Cadence I bought a while ago. I hate the tiny rings they insist on using, they impede casting and trotting efficiently massively in my opinion. 

Another thoroughly enjoyable day.

Tuesday 14 November 2023

Good Day, Bad Day

I say "day", the first session was for an hour and a half. I was definitely not fishing today. Oh no, a six mile walk-run, a big midday fry up and a relaxing afternoon listening to football on the radio. That's what was happening today.

Great run, even better fry up and I relaxed for, ooh, about twenty minutes before I was bored.

Looked out the window. Wasn't raining. Hmm.

Half hour later I was casting out a big lump of bread flake in a "new" favourite swim. First cast a nice chub, then a couple of smaller ones. 

A couple of rattling bites and I changed to a smaller hook, hoping for a roach. First cast, tip pulled slowly round and a nice roach was on.

I finished with three chub and a roach. A very nice, very short outing.

Yesterday I went to another stretch, baited up and was full of confidence of a few decent fish.

In short, I lost a rod rest ( subsequently found ), a thirty year old pen knife ( subsequently found ) and a leg and foot off a very old lightweight chair ( not found ). How the feck a six inch bit of metal and four inch diameter foot can disappear I don't know.

I fished for three hours and into dark without so much as a touch.

Win some, lose some.

Sunday 12 November 2023

In The Groove

As I've said a million times before, it's not just about the size or quantity of the fish.

It's about going somewhere scenic, or at least peaceful, with a bit of mystery and ideally with no other fecker fishing ( apart from a good mate of course). Sorry, I'm not usually anti social at all, just when I'm fishing.

I've been fishing the local river, the gear and bait always ready to be grabbed for short sessions. Ten minutes from the house, travelling light, nabbing a fish or two, its my type of fishing.

Cooky came along the other day and managed to hook and lose two decent chub through "user error". I could say more but won't. Another time I'll spill the beans.

I used the fifteen footer for a bit of trotting and managed to hook a nice chub. Unfortunately, the strike resulted in the rod getting thoroughly tangled in some brambles. An unholy mess. The chub, of course, was lost

Just before dusk, in the umpteenth swim, the float buried and a beautiful roach surfaced. It was in pristine condition and was probably the biggest I've had from this stretch.

Yesterday, I fished on a gloriously sunny, cold afternoon. One swim produced two nice chub in two casts, but in the other swims I was biteless, except on a sweeping bend, where roach were hitting the bread each cast. I missed most of them. Well, you will do on a size six hook with a quarter slice won't you ?

As soon as the sun disappeared the temperature plummeted and the water meadows were enveloped by a low lying mist, the only sounds being the honking of geese and the gentle calls of teal on the flooded washes.

Oh, and the faint sound of 5Live as I listened to the football on the radio. That's messed up the purple prose, eh ?

Tuesday 7 November 2023

Floods and Chubs

I've never seen rain like it this early in the season.

My part of the lower river takes three or four days longer to settle down than stretches only five or six miles upstream, due in part to a couple of tributaries draining in to the main channel.

At the moment a friend fifteen miles upstream tells me it's normal level and now clear. Not here Guvnor.

Today it was going through like a train but with a perfect green tinge that tells you that you will most certainly catch chub.

Fishing any available steady bit of water resulted in a few bites and I finished with four moderately sized chub. Bit of fun on a short session on a sunny afternoon 

I also had a ruffe the other day. I love 'em.

I'm hoping to get back on the "Forbidden" section later in the week if the rain stops and the flow eases.

I'm taking my mate Dicky Boy who wants a decent river bream, so the pressure is on. Wish me luck.